tv [untitled] June 20, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
terminal, the san francisco general hospital and tried many different ways to try to work around the trees. but we could find no other way except to -- and we'll explain later to install these large curtain walls that are manufactured in china to be hoisted and installed. what we read of the ordinance we find no other way to install these with the trees in place that would not cause a hazard as defined in 802 of the urban -- urban tree ordinance. urban foresty ordinance. i correct one thing on our appellant's brief. the brief cites that pursuant to section 808, section 806 of the urban foresty ordinance the hazardous trees may be removed and hazardous trees include those that interfere with vehicular pedestrian traffic or pose any significant hazard or potential hazard. and it may be removed if measures may been applied to abate any such hazard.
feasible measures include maintenance activities listed in 802-l of the ordinance. 802-l cites that such feasible maintenance measures include pruning, structural pruning, routine maintenance. we've looked at structure pruning, pruning down the leaves, pruning down the branches. doing -- other than -- short of cutting the trees down to its -- its -- what do you call it, a stem. its bark, its trunk. there are no feasible methods as defined in the code that would abate the hazard. therefore, we request that as we present later how this works. we find no other way to try to avoid personal injury, imminent harm, danger, in the installation process. jesse herzog, my project manager, will describe more about the construction process and why these trees pose a hazard.
>> as eric was alluding to, this is a diagram of the job site that was created by web corps. and you can see above here. but the issue is, web corps was looking to utilize the staging area for hoisting of the large unitized components directly to the building. with the trees in that area, we no longer have -- or web corps will not have as direct of path to hoist. these are 20 by 20 panels of steel and glass that will be mounted to the building. any time there's more horizontal movement for those, you create issues of them hitting the trees or issues with wind and banging into the building which creates this hazard. additionally, without access to that staging area, we would be required to hoist the large panels from the street which would be bringing them over the pedestrian causeway. which creates also another issue in terms of the
construction safety at the job site for both the public and also the construction workers on the site. additionally, there was one other component about this. the requirement to replace the trees with equal or better trees. and i think it's very important to note that directly, these eight trees will be replaced with 11 trees that are equal or better. and these 11 trees are part of a coherent landscape plan that was approved by seven community groups to plant 34 trees at the site. and a park to create a uniform aesthetic in effect. again, we've challenged web corps who we think is one of the best builders in san francisco to come up with an alternate solution. and they could find none that would not require hoisting these large panels directly in front of the area where it needs to be installed. i guess in closing, this is a
project that went through 3 1/2 years of the public process. it went through an e.i.r. it was part of the eastern neighborhood's plan. with unanimous support of sampack, clemon tina cares, and multiple community groups. a letter was written by another neighbor. alexis apartments, a senior group support this project all about this revitalized landscaping plan with all new trees consistent, we're going to replace the entire sidewalk and curbs and went through the planning commission. it went through the board of supervisors. with unanimous approval. all included was this -- in totality, which is a new landscaping plan a. new tree planting program new sidewalks. and again our reading of the ordinance because our experts as providing the declaration can find that there is no other way feasibly to install the unitized window systems. it does create a hazard as defined in the ordinance. and there's no feasible
maintenance means that can abate the hazard. so we ask that you grant the removal, conditioned upon we repalatial the eight trees with 11 trees as part of the landscaping plan that are equal or better value than currently existing. thank you. >> i have a question or a couple of questions. if this staging area that you had on the diagram you put on the overhead, can you put that, please, back up. is that -- are you saying that that staging -- can we have the overhead? the staging area, that's the only possible location for purposes of hoisting -- did you say unitized window system? >> that's correct. imagine that this is the building. >> ok. >> in front of you, folsom street. large panels that are shipped
from china. typically you put pieces of a wall in the window. these are unitized premanufactured curtain wall systems that are shipped over large -- on large palettes and hoisted up. swinging by crane. and then moved onto the wall and affixed. so they have metal-glass-steel all connected. so they have to be hoisted and applied right directly in front of where that wall is going to apply to. >> that's how the whole building is being restructured? >> they just go down. >> are there trees or any or hazards on other sides of the building that have presented themselves that don't -- that don't need to be removed? >> all the trees need to be removed. at the negotiable hearing, most of the trees -- initial hearing, most of the trees -- how many were granted to be removed? >> 24 -- i think there was 12
trees that were granted removal that were -- >> and granted removal for purposes of this hoist? >> right. and i guess part of it, what we did understand is it is a consistent process throughout the whole building along all sides. so it should have been we thought would have been granted for all of them, spail since we're replacing the 24 with 34 trees. >> another unique challenge to answer your question about the staging area is that this building is blt out to the lot line. so on other buildings, a staging area there, but consistent with the zoning that's built out to the lot line. >> is there a staging area on each side and only for purposes of this appeal, did you show us the staging area for the one side? that's my question. because -- if you have to hoist these, unitized wall or window systems, on other parts of the building -- >> yep. >> not just the one where those particular trees are, wouldn't you have a staging area in front of those other --
>> yes. that's correct. >> ok. >> so there are seven trees that are creating this conflict on folsom. one tree on fifth street. the only other frontage where this is an issue is along clemontina street. and the trees that were there were approved for removal. the fourth frontage, there's a park that we're building. so we can stage there directly and go up. >> ok. so five on the side, one on the -- and i don't know. >> on fifth street. >> where's that tree? is that going to be removed also? >> that tree has been -- yeah, it's requested to be removed for the same issue. >> and been approved for removal? >> no. that's the subject of this appeal. those eight trees. >> the one on the right. on the fifth street. i see. thank you. for clarifying. can you also help me understand better the pedestrian causeway that interferes with an alternate possibility? you mentioned --
>> right. >> some issues with the pedestrian causeway. i don't know what that is on your -- >> right now the site is under construction. this pink causeway area, the parking lane has been turned into a pedestrian causeway. >> ok. >> now, if we can't stage along the sidewalk where the trees are, we'll have to stage from the street. certain -- not the whole building. just certain sections right in front. and then we'll have to hoist over the pedestrian causeway and install onto the -- >> would they even have that pedestrian causeway? if you're going -- if you were to have to accommodate existing trees and not -- >> well, the trees interest r there. most of the sidewalk has been dem jod already. we're doing mass excavation. >> what i'm saying is that pedestrian causeway would not be there. it's not like you're going to be hoisting materials above humans while they're walking on the public street, right? >> part of the reason for this appeal is that was our --
originally our plan, not to ever to be to the outside of the causeway but staging everything within the boundaries of our site, construction. these trees are allowed to be removed as the others were. we would never be hoisting over a pedestrian causeway. >> there would be no pedestrian causeway if you weren't allowed to remove those trees. >> correct. >> i just wanted to be clear about that point. thank you. >> thank you. >> we can hear from the department now. ms. short. >> good evening, commissioners. carla short, department of public works, foresty. we were just not convinced that they needed to remove these trees in order to construct the project. i think their brief really focused on how we're preventing the project from happening. we have no intention to prevent or frustrate the project from happening. our intention is to preserve these trees. these were planted by d.p.w. as part of the mayor's trees for
tomorrow campaign. so we've invested in them. they're now established. so they don't need the intensive watering of a truck going once a week for three years. and so -- and these trees are all in good condition. the trees that were not in good condition were approved for removal. and just to clarify, the trees on the other side of the frontage that were approved for removal, it wasn't because of their staging installation, it was because the condition of the trees themselves. so, you know, we know web corps is a great builder and we think they can figure out another way to stage this that can keep pedestrians safe and still preserve these trees that are healthy and established. i know there are times when sidewalks get closed. and people have to cross at the crosswalk and use the other side of the street. and that would prevent them from having to hoist large panels over pedestrians. it just seems to us that there should be an alternative. and i understand it would be easier for them to not have to work around the existing trees. but these are an investment that we've made in our city's
green infrastructure. and if there's not a really compelling reason, and obviously worker safety is important. but we think that it can be achieved and still preserve the trees. so they were denied by the department. and we request that you uphold our denial. >> thank you. is there any public comment on this item? ok. seeing none, then we will start with rebuttal. you have three minutes. >> we fully appreciate the department's position. and if we weren't replacing the eight trees with 11 new trees of equal or better value, we would -- we would be in a much different place. and i guess with all due respect to the department's opinion, we've asked web corps, and they've given us their opinion that there isn't a feasible alternative method. so frankly, i think unless the
department can find their own expert to testify to refute our expert's testimony on declaration on this subject, we hope the appeal board will trust web corps' opinion that the feasible method, the only feasible method for this unique system is for the removal of these trees. in order to avoid -- in order to avoid hazard as defined in the code. thank you. >> ms. short. >> carla short, department of public works. i think the responsibility is on the project to identify the alternatives. the responsibility of my division of public works is to protect trees in the public right of way. i don't know if they've explored closing the sidewalk. i know it's possible. it happens. we see it happening. and we know that you have to do it and sometimes make
pedestrians cross the other side and happening on 10th street right near our office at stevenson right now. they're saying that they will replace with 11 trees of equal or better value. these trees have a d.b.h. of six inches and at least 15 feet tall in some cases. 12 to 15. i could figure out exact dimensions for each tree. they're replacing with 11 trees of six and seven inch d.b.h. that's pretty hefty. box sizes we're talking 48 or 60 inch box trees. then i think it's argueable that the city won't lose any canopy or environmental benefits as long as those trees get established. but just replacing 11 trees doesn't necessarily replicate the equal value that these trees are now providing in terms of their environmental benefits to the city. thank you. >> ms. short, what do you think about the species? proposed? >> i'm sorry? >> the species they propose.
>> that they proposed? i'm not sure what the final species is on folsom. is it elm? >> it is chinese elm. >> that's the same species that we've got out there. >> they listed two species, i believe. >> the chinese elm is what we have on folsom so we think it's a great species for folsom and that's why we chose it. >> they had a second species somewhere. >> on fifth street, brisbane, a nice tree, we like it. >> can i get some clarification. you said the replacement tree is six inches? >> no. our existing trees have a diameter, measured at 4 1/2 feet above grade. ranging from i was just looking at my notes. 12 to 15 feet tall. and six to seven inches of trunk diameter. >> right. that's the replacement tree, too? >> well, they are asserting that they'll replace with equal or greater value. and i think they're going to have hard time. those are very expensive trees.
maybe they're prepared to invest in them. but six inch d.b.h., that's a good sized tree. 15 feet. to replace a tree that size is going to be an investment. but i'm all for it. >> is that what is being proposed? a replication of what exists? >> speak to the mic, please. >> that is -- that is what's been proposed in our landscaping plan. and we've done it once before. we built this at 1160 mission street and brought in these big trees. i don't know if you remember, carla. they're about the same size. they're big trees. >> ok. before -- well, actually, i have a question of ms. short. i think you mentioned in your earlier remarks that the trees that are the subject here were
part of the mayor's project. and weekly watering of these trees for -- the last three years, has taken place? >> yeah. >> and at what cost to the city? >> our average cost is $1,641 per tree. >> per tree. ok. >> so we invested roughly $14,000 in these trees. >> and is that cost a consideration when determining whether or not a tree should be or should not be removed? from your department's perspective? >> well, i think in this case, it was -- it was particularly fresh in our mind because we just got these trees off the watering list. so our big investment was complete. in general, we're looking at the health and the structural stability of the tree when we look at whether or not a tree should be removed. >> ok. thank you. >> thank you. >> can you just say specifically what size box tree would you be comfortable with? if we were going to grant the appeal? >> well, i would prefer to see
the size requirements be matched. and i can provide them with our evaluations of these trees. we took diameter measurements and height measurements on each tree. depending on the species, you can get variation in how large the tree is. i would expect it would be a minimum of a 60 inch box tree. that's a five foot by five foot square box of root area. that's several thousand dollars per tree. without labor costs. but if they could find one that matches in a smaller box size, i think our goal would be to have no net canopy and diameter lost. >> can the trees be saved and replanted? >> it would be very difficult. because they are now established. requiring special tree root ball digger. it could be possible. and if they were to attempt to hire a real professional tree mover, we would obviously want to make sure that the trees were in good condition before
they were replanted. but that might be feasible. it woul huge excavation but i think they're taking up the whole sidewalk anyway so that might be possible. >> thank you. >> i would be curious from the -- from the project sponsor if that's something that you would be open to attempting. with obviously -- in consultation with -- >> i think it's better -- realistically, we would just buy them eight new trees and have them planted. because the work and labor and destruction to go and do what they just suggested is really not worth it. not feasible. but our plan is to again replace the existing tree experience with new ones and more. so our 11 trees should equal what's happening with the eight trees now. and there's no loss of enjoyment now. because there is lots of
construction going on there. and by the time we're done, the trees will be up. so to the daily neighborhood pedestrian, there should be no impact at all if we remove these trees right now. >> are you comfortable agreeing to the specifications of the department? >> i believe what we have in our site permit is approved by the planning department is a 48-inch box tree. but i concur with carla that those 48 inch box trees should be able to achieve the same diameter and canopy as currently existing. >> ok. thanks. >> i'm not sure that's quite what she said. commissioners, two things first. one is it's interesting that they took the language out of the code about hazardous quite out of context with respect to
what they're intending. one, and secondly, i'm not sure i'm in total agreement with them that that is the only staging process possible. those things said, however, i am supportive of a coherent and comprehensive statement made for the design and should they want to have a particular pattern of trees, a particular species, and the way it looks, i would support that. and i think that -- should we condition it that they match the existing trees, then i would be acceptive of taking this appeal and overturning the department. >> i would concur with those sentiments. and unless other commissioners wish to speak. i would make that motion.
>> you want to clarify, is that a change from the 48 inch box that is on the site permit? >> yes. to match what is currently existing with the specifications as described by ms. short. >> so that would be -- to replace the eight trees with 11 trees of the same diameter and canopy of the existing trees and do you want that to be at ms. short's approval or by the department's approval? or just -- >> i think -- yes, i would. >> ok. >> i think that the department will require a permit with that anyway. >> yes. so a motion to grant the appeal and overturn the department and issue the permit on the condition that the eight trees be replaced by 11 trees of the same diameter and canopy of the
existing trees. call the roll -- mr. pacheco will call the roll when he's ready. >> again, to grant this appeal, motion by the president overrule the denial, issue this permit on condition that these eight trees be replaced with 11 replacement trees of the same trunk diameter and same canopy to be determined by the d.p.w. bwf. as determined by the dpw. on that motion vice president fung. aye. commissioner hillis. aye. commissioner hurtado. aye.
the vote is 4-0. the denial is overruled. with all those conditions. thank you. >> thank you. moving on to item number five, which is appeal number 11-125, maud hallin versus the department of building inspection with planning department approval. the property is at 449-a greenwich street. protesting the issuance on october 27, 2011, to kelly kaplan of a permit to alter a building. renovation of rear yard cottage, scope includes conversion of crawlspace to habitable space, new roof deck, lower cottage, two new bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths and family room, upper and master be room, bath, kitchen and remodel. new half bath. this is on for hearing today, i understand the parties have reached an agreement. and would like to present a settlement agreement to the board. for some modifications to the department. you can start with the appellant. >> president hwang and commissioners, i'm maud hallin,
the owner of the adjoining properties on greenwich street. and i see that we are appeal number 11-125 and i must say we have spent many months and with a lot of effort and collaboration from the parties involved to reach an agreement. and so i have handed over and mrs. kaplan has also handed over documentation to the board outlining our agreement with revisions. the new architectural drawings are dated march 21, 2012, and not as i had erroneously written here as not march 28. part of the agreement is a lot
of quite a few changes. and i think that it will be a very nice cottage now. i also want to point out that other property owners at 439 greenwich, which is an 18-unit condo complex, they have also -- with mrs. kaplan and her group about other refinements as to construction. as you know, it's a sloping hill. and issues of groundwater, rocks, etc., are of major concern to everyone living downhill. we have also groundwater continuously running. and we can't never feg out where it's coming from --
figure out where it's coming from. so any changes in foundation makes it really tough. and it's a steep slope. but i think that mrs. kaplan and her husband who are from southern california have now been well-trained in understanding the different problems on telegraph hill. and the fact that it's a very densely populated neighborhood. and there's a cool next door also. -- a school next door also. and this is the rear cottage which is grandfathered. so with this, i wish them good luck with the project. thank you. >> thank you. >> ok. thank you. we can hear from the permit holder now.
>> president hwang and members of the board, i'm steve atkinson from the law firm of mckenna, long and aldrich. my client, kelly kaplan, is here next to me. this is very simple. so we can help move your calendar along. as the appellant said, a settlement has been reached. the settlement incorporates revised plans. we've outlined and kelly -- in kelly kaplan's letters the changes. those changes are reflected under the revised plan. so what we would like this board to do is to approve the modified plans pursuant to the settlement. and we're happy to answer any questions you may have. victor? >> have the plans been reviewed by planning? or d.b.i.? ok. any issues? >> we can have them come up to speak. mr. snyder. if you would just acknowledge
your review of the plan. thanks. >> president hwang, with the planning department, in response to your question, yes, we have reviewed plans. yes, they do comply with the planning code. >> thank you. >> does the building department have anything they want to add? >> the plans are compliant. >> thank you. >> thank you. call for public comment. is there anyone here who would like to speak on this item? >> good evening, commissioners. my name is leo. i'm the president of the 18-unit condo homeowners association that our neighbor, maud hallin, referred to. we're the upslope neighbor. and our -- we're the upslope neighbor wou